55 days without rain - where is the rain?

FIFTY-FIVE days. That's how long it's been since Thangool and Biloela have seen rain.

Official Bureau of Meteorology figures show Thangool has not had a drop since 8.6mm fell on June 27.

The whole of June had 14.9mm and May just 20mm.

On top of that were two record hot August days:August 13 at 31 degrees beat the old record of 30.4 on August 22, 2006, and was topped by 31.2 the next day.

Things aren't likely to get better any time soon, with the drought-bringing El Niño pattern having reformed.

To make matters worse, Banana Shire Council's options on water sources for Biloela, Thangool and Callide Dam village appear to be quickly disappearing.

At the water summit in June, water and sewerage engineer Anthony Lipsys said the council was considering a range of options in the Biloela Water Supply Options Study, including use of excess mine water and increasing the intake from Awoonga, the only thing that has kept Callide Dam from going dry for much of the past year.

With Callide at only 8%, council had hoped to make use of 930 megalitres of excess water at Callide Mine but the idea was vetoed at a recent liaison forum between the two organisations.

An Anglo spokesperson said due to new regulations proposed by the State Government on the release of water from mine sites in Queensland, Callide Mine did not release the water.

Professor Roger Stone, in his August climate change outlook, showed that Banana Shire had only a 50% chance of above-average rainfall until October.

He admitted to Central Telegraph it was “not a brilliant outlook” and under El Nino, the wet season was likely to be delayed and weaker.

Another water option mentioned by Mr Lipsys in June included the future Nathan Dam pipeline, further delayed due to a study on endangered snails, previously reported in the CT.

Tanks are no good if it doesn't rain but council has got funding to let it recycle more water. Council did not say if it would tighten water restrictions.

THE DRY FACTS • Days since rain: 55 • Last rainfall: 8.6mm (June 27) • 2009 winter rainfall: 14.9mm • Average winter rainfall: 85.1mm • Highest August rainfall: 108.7mm (1988) • Highest August maximum temperature: 31.2 degrees (Aug 14, 2009)

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